Without the Wiki ‘testament’ and boring history lesson, man moves dirt – lots of it, all the time.

and this was cutting edge, late 1940s

and this was cutting edge, late 1940s

Strap in because this whole industry has changed overnight, and it is only going to go faster and reach wider. NAA has the legacy behind us with soils, levees, geotech, RC, fixed wing airplanes and had more camera platforms to count.

Traditionally to get aerial photography it went something like this;

Find a pilot who has a Cessna 172, minimally you had some useful skills with your Minolta camera and your new 200mm zoom lens and you loaded up with Fuji film with some different ISOs. Open up your wallet, call ‘CONTACT’ and zoom off into hopefully blue skies on the only day you and pilot are in the same zip code, to take ’10s’ of images. Now when you got back down to terra firma and rushed your film canisters to Longs Drugs and in a short 10 days or so you would actually get a call on your rotary phone from a live human to ‘invite’ you to come to photo department to pick up your 5x7s and oh they ‘just happened ‘ to be having a sale on Kodak film. Rush right over and open wallet. Tear open the package on the counter careful not to spill or touch the negatives and leaf thru the 4 rolls of 36 exposure images looking for just ONE good shot from those 144 ‘attempts’.

Wing was in the way – nope
Strut was in the way – nope
Light flare bounce back – nope
Tons of blurry images – nope
THEN
with 138 images scattered all over the counter, you and your instant expert ‘friend’ on the other side of the counter marvel at the ONE shot that made it all worth it. After many ooohs and aaahs, you scoop up all the rejects, grab 4 more rolls of Fuji film at full price and head home knowing it was a good day because you don’t have to do it all over again, this time. The client will LOVE this aerial of their project and pay you extra to have it blown up to mount on the wall like a trophy with a nice little bronze tag embedded into the frame with the date.

Here is where the New Age part comes in.

Fast forward to April 21, 2016.

Arrive at client location 0830, sign in and gear up. Discuss safety briefing, define potential areas of concern and no fly zones.
0900: Discuss mission parameters for the day, main targets and secondary locations and angles needed for the best results.
0930: Preflight and safety check
0945-1230: Fly missions via computer with safety officer. All missions VLOS (visual line of sight) and flown under 200′
1300: Review raw images and videos on laptop in field. 950 stills taken and over 18mins of critical video retained.
1330: Packed up and on the road

48 hours later all 28 piles have volumetrics computed with a 3D interactive cloud based map that is shareable across the net to any web enabled device.

Enjoy some of these images of the New Age of aerial survey!

deploy team, lead pilot and flight engineer, safety officer taking this image

Lift off in manual mode, mission planner with paper overview map and radio link to UAV via tablet

raw material

raw material

950 still images stitched together

950 still images stitched together 

1 level zoom in

level 2 zoom in

further zoomed in on booms and piles

a minimum of 2 people have the UAV in VLOS at all times

flight team deployed in flight, with plant operations safety officer

always impressed with engineering works

ground view operations